Wheelhouse Weekly – February 11, 2014

February 11th 2014


– Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use –

Volume 18 . . . Number 6 . . . Feb. 11, 2014


Did you miss a week? Back editions of the Wheelhouse Weekly are available in the archives section.


President Obama on Friday signed new farm legislation, the Agriculture Act of 2014, which reauthorizes the PL 480 Food-for-Peace Program in its current form. The law, which was debated by Congress for several years, reiterates the role of “buy-and-ship American” in our nation’s foreign food aid programs by maintaining requirements that food aid agricultural commodities be purchased in the United States and shipped in part on U.S.-flag vessels. 

The president called the new law a “jobs bill,” an “innovation bill,” a “research bill” and a “conservation bill.” But he said the main benefits would be to help rural communities in the United States and provide food aid to poor families and children.

For the past year, MM&P and others in our industry–along with domestic transportation and agricultural commodity groups–have been fighting proposals that would shift PL 480 from a food-based program to one in which taxpayer dollars, instead of American farm commodities, were sent to the world’s neediest nations. The proposal would have hurt American farmers and reduced the cargo available to U.S.-flag vessels, undercutting America’s economic and military security in the process. 

“We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to continue to improve the efficient implementation of the PL 480 program so that America’s interests and the interests of those abroad whom we are helping are enhanced,” said MM&P President Don Marcus.

It is important to note that the legislation also creates a permanent, separate program that allows up to $80 million in U.S. funds to be spent to purchase food aid commodities overseas under certain conditions. “We will be working diligently to ensure that the funding for this local regional purchase program is not taken from the funds appropriated for the PL 480 program and does not lead to a reduction in the amount of commodities purchased and shipped under PL 480,” Marcus said.


Anti-labor politicians will tell you that “right-to-work for less” laws are an essential tool for making the lives of working people better. But if you’re interested in facts, you’ll find that statement to be untrue. Politico took a look at 14 measures of quality of life and combined them into a ranking of the best and worst states to live in.

Among the 14 factors Politico included were high school graduation rates, income (on a per capita basis), life expectancy and crime rate. Of the top five states, only one was “right to work.” According to Politico, 4 of the 5 best states to live in are non-right-to-work. In order, they are New Hampshire, Minnesota, Vermont, Utah and Massachusetts.

Right-to-work states account for 8 of the 10 worst states, and all 5 of the 5 worst states (in order, from 46th-50th: Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi). The majority of “right-to-work” states are not only in the bottom half of the country, but in the bottom 20 of the 50 states.

University of Oregon labor scholar and EPI research associate Gordon Lafer often points out how relatively poor the quality of life is in “right-to-work” states, on average, compared to states that don’t restrict union contract rights. Lafer’s home state, Oregon, where corporate backers are trying to pass a public sector “right-to-work” law, is ranked 23rd, outperforming nearly two-thirds of the states that currently have “right-to-work” laws.


The Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced last week that America’s six state maritime academies–California Maritime Academy, Great Lakes Maritime Academy, Maine Maritime Academy, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, SUNY Maritime College and Texas Maritime Academy–as well as the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point, will each receive $1 million from the government program under which obsolete ships are recycled. MARAD said in an official statement that the funds will help ensure well-educated and highly skilled U.S. Merchant Marine officers are available to meet our nation’s national security and economic needs.

“The most important element in our U.S. Merchant Marine fleet is our people,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This funding will help ensure that the dedicated men and women of our maritime academies continue to have the resources that make them the best educated and most highly trained mariners anywhere.”

The money for this round of funding came from the sale for recycling of obsolete vessels from the Maritime Administration’s National Defense Reserve Fleet. “We’re proud to support the education that prepares the next generation of maritime professionals for the challenges they will face,” said Acting Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen. 


As we move full speed ahead into the second session of the 113th Congress, we know two things for sure. First, we know that it will be an abbreviated, politically charged year as both political parties gear up for the November Congressional elections. The other thing we know with equal certainty is that the programs and policies important to the survival of the U.S.-Flag Merchant Marine and to the jobs of MM&P members working in the domestic Jones Act trades or on U.S.-flag vessels in the foreign trades will once again be under attack. This means that we must enhance our efforts in our nation’s Capital, expand our activities at the grassroots level, and increase the resources we need in order to protect ourselves and our jobs and to support those who support us.

We need your help, we need your participation: please make a contribution today to the MM&P PCF. To view the list of members of Congress who have received support from the MM&P PCF, go to, enter the Members’ Only site, click on “Documents” and then on “Who We Support.”


The phone number included last week in an article about short-duration medical certificates issued by the Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center (NMC) was incorrect. Mariners seeking information about short-duration medical certificates should call: 1-888-427-5662 or send an e-mail Callers should have their mariner reference number or social security number ready when they call. Many thanks to MM&P member Doug Adriance for supplying the correct phone number for publication in the Weekly.


The National Maritime Center (NMC) says it has reviewed all deck and engine credentialing exam illustrations to determine which are releasable without violation of copyright laws. The agency says that as a result of the review, it has posted all the deck (approximately 160) and 143 of the engineering illustrations on under the examinations link on the left menu. At this time, it said that the remaining engine illustrations (approximately 600) contain copyrighted materials. The agency said it has begun working to create government-owned illustrations to replace those that are copyrighted and will publish additional information as that effort progresses.


The MM&P General Executive Board (GEB) has recently approved changes to the Members’ Welfare Fund. The fund is now open to members in all membership groups and benefits are available for a broader range of circumstances. The new Members’ Welfare Benefits Booklet and an Application Form are posted in the Member’s Only section of Please contact your MM&P Vice President if you have any questions.


Save up to 25 percent on flowers this Valentine’s Day with Union Plus Flower Delivery Service, offering discounts through Teleflora to union members, retirees and their families. Visit Teleflora’s website to get more information: Click on the “Union Plus” banner on the top of the Teleflora page. Your 25 percent discount will be applied at check out. Use promotion code UPLUD25. The promotion lasts until Dec. 31, 2014. If you have problems with the website, call Teleflora directly at 1-888-667-7779 and use the union discount code UPLUD25.

And remember: stay connected with Union Plus on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for union benefits information, fun and engaging contests, and to connect with a community of union members.


There will be Offshore Membership Division meetings in the following ports on the indicated dates: San Francisco/Oakland, Thursday, Feb. 20, directly after 11:00 job call; Seattle, Thursday, Feb. 27, directly after 11:00 job call; Honolulu, Wednesday, March 5, directly after 10:00 job call. All members in the area are urged to attend.


Authorities in India said Monday that the government had decided not to prosecute two Italian marines under national anti-piracy laws for the killing in February 2012 of two fishermen. The marines, who were part of an armed security detachment aboard an Italian merchant ship, say they mistook the fishermen for pirates and fired warning shots in the air. They deny killing anyone or even aiming at the fishing boat. The incident took place off the coast of India’s southern state of Kerala. The marines, Massimiliano LaTorre and Salvatore Girone, are currently on bail pending trial and are living and working at the Italian Embassy in Delhi.

Italy has said the shooting occurred in international waters and that therefore, Rome, not India, should have jurisdiction. The Italian government asked India’s Supreme Court last month to allow the marines to return home, given that two years after the incident charges had not yet been filed.

Last week, authorities in India tried to reassure the government of Italy that the marines would not face the death penalty even if India’s anti-piracy law had been invoked. The Indian Supreme Court last week ordered the government to clarify the case against the marines and set a hearing for Feb. 18.

Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano has called India’s handling of the case “contradictory and confusing.” Italy’s defense minister and deputy foreign minister are now in New Delhi, awaiting the start of the trial.


The developer of the mobile application Whale Alert, designed to augment ship navigation tools that indicate routes that reduce the risk of ship and right whale collisions, has been chosen to receive the 2013 “Government Executive Bold Award.” The app was created by David Wiley, a biologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). A Government Executive spokesperson said that between the launch of the app in 2012 and Dec. 6, 2013, there had been no reported fatal collisions in the regions charted by the app. 

“We’re hoping to evolve Whale Alert into Ocean Alert, because there are similar problems everywhere in the ocean,” Wiley said. “For instance, there are some areas where ships need to burn different fuels because of air pollution regulations and they need to know where they are relative to those zones as well.” To download the whale alert app, go to


If you are interested in attending the Offshore Familiarization Course, please contact your MM&P Vice President to request that one be scheduled in your area. An Offshore Orientation Course is now scheduled for Los Angeles/Long Beach on March 12-13 and Oct. 8-9. If you are interested in participating in the course, please contact the Los Angeles/Long Beach Hall: 310-834-7201 or 310-834-6667(fax). There is no sea-time requirement to take the course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are encouraged to take the course as soon as possible.


The 2006 Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) entered into force on Aug. 20. It has been described as the fourth pillar of international shipping regulations along with SOLAS, MARPOL and STCW.  The International Labor Organization consolidated a number of previous conventions in MLC 2006. It establishes minimum standards on conditions of employment, accommodations, health and safety, medical care, crew welfare, recruitment, working conditions and social security protection. MLC will be strictly enforced during port state control inspections, including the potential for more detailed inspections and possible detention where hazardous conditions may exist if ships are not to be in compliance. Visit for more information or to register for the MLC course.


MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to or to the fax number below.

New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail: Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

Please note the special addition to our on-campus schedule of MSC classes marked with an asterisk (*), which are not normally scheduled to be held at MITAGS.

AB – 3/24/14, 8/11/14, 10/13/14

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/6/14, 7/9/14

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 4/1/14, 8/5/14, 9/23/14, 11/18/14

AZIPOD 2-Day – 5/7/14, 5/19/14, 7/10/14, 10/9/14

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 3/24/14, 6/2/14, 8/25/14, 10/13/14

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/3/14, 4/14/14, 5/22/14, 8/20/14, 9/22/14, 11/20/14

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 3/5/14, 4/29/14, 7/7/14, 10/6/14

BST – Basic Safety Training: 4/7/14, 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 10/6/14

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/14/14, 10/27/14

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 2/24/14, 6/2/14, 8/4/14, 11/10/14

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 4/28/14, 6/23/14, 9/22/14

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 3/10/14, 6/16/14, 9/8/14

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 5/5/14, 7/7/14, 9/29/14

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 2/24/14, 5/5/14, 6/2/14, 7/14/14, 8/4/14, 10/20/14, 11/10/14

MCL-CMM – Management, Communication, & Leadership (Management Level): 3/17/14, 5/19/14, 9/15/14

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants:  3/31/14, 7/21/14, 10/27/14

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 4/7/14, 8/18/14, 10/13/14

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 2/17/14, 3/10/14, 4/7/14, 4/28/14, 6/9/14, 8/4/14, 9/8/14, 9/22/14, 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 2/24/14, 3/17/14, 4/14/14, 5/5/14, 6/16/14, 8/11/14, 9/15/14, 9/29/14, 10/27/14, 11/10/14, 12/8/14

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 3/3/14, 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 11/17/14

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 4/21/14, 7/28/14, 11/3/14

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 4/28/14, 11/3/14

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop:

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications:  10/7/14

DDE – Great Lakes:


ECDIS-OIC – 2/17/14, 9/8/14

ECDIS-Pilots – 3/5/14, 5/19/14

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 4/7/14, 6/9/14, 8/11/14, 10/6/14

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep & Medications:  5/21/14, 11/19/14

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization:

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/17/14, 8/18/14

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/23/14, 9/15/14, 11/17/14

LAP- 3/10/14, 9/8/14

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross Ton License: 6/2/14

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/5/14, 5/21/14, 7/8/14, 10/7/14, 11/20/14

LNG-TPIC – 4/7/14

MCL-OIC –Management, Communications, and Leadership OICNW level: 9/5/14, 10/7/14

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 2/17/14, 4/21/14, 6/16/14, 9/8/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 5/12/14, 8/4/14, 10/13/14

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 2/17/14, 3/17/14, 4/21/14, 6/16/14, 9/8/14, 10/20/14, 11/3/14, 12/1/14

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 2/22/14, 3/22/14, 4/26/14, 6/21/14, 8/3/14, 9/13/14, 10/12/14, 11/8/14, 12/6/14

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: 5/5/14 (PM), 8/4/14 (PM), 10/6/14 (PM)

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 3/14/14, 6/6/14, 8/22/14, 10/3/14

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 3/10/14, 6/2/14, 8/18/14, 9/29/14

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification:  3/10/14, 6/2/14, 8/18/14, 9/29/14, 11/10/14

*MSC-SECURITY WATCH BASIC – Contact Admissions


*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – Contact Admissions

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/31/14, 8/4/14, 9/22/14, 11/17/14

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 2/19/14, 3/6/14, 3/20/14, 4/2/14, 4/16/14, 4/30/14, 5/7/14, 5/14/14, 6/5/14, 6/18/14, 7/9/14, 7/24/14, 8/6/14, 8/20/14, 9/10/14, 9/17/14, 10/1/14, 10/15/14, 10/29/14, 11/12/14, 12/3/14, 12/10/14

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 4/7/14, 7/28/14, 11/10/14

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 4/7/14, 10/13/14

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling:  5/12/14, 6/16/14, 8/18/14, 11/17/14

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 3/3/14, 7/14/14, 10/6/14

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/4/14

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/7/14

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge:  2/24/14, 8/25/14

TTT – Train the Trainer: 4/7/14

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 5/6/14, 8/5/14, 10/7/14

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 3/21, 5/7/14, 8/6/14, 9/2/14, 10/8/14

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level) : 3/3/14, 9/29/14

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level) : 2/24/13, 9/15/14

…And remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call.  Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”

Check the MITAGS website at for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions.


Please also see our schedule online at For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.

February 2014

17-21     ECDIS
17-21     Bridge Resource Management w/ Simulation
24-28     Medical Care Provider
26-28     Vessel Security Officer

March 2014

3-14       Celestial Navigation
10-21     GMDSS
17th       Radar Renewal
24-28     ECDIS
24-28     Able Seaman
24-4       License Preparation (Mate Level)

April 2014

7-11       ECDIS
14th       Radar Renewal
14-18     Medical Care Provider
14-25     Medical Person-In-Charge
15-18     ARPA
28-2       ECDIS

The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2014, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots. All the material contained in this publication is protected by copyright. For permission to reprint text from the Weekly, contact the MM&P Communications Department: For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at